02/07/17

It’s not enough for pests just to be gross and freaky. No, pests need to make even more problems for humans. Pests are kind of overachievers that way. Some of these problems can be a major annoyance--not to mention expensive! Every kind of common pest in Minnesota can do its own unique form of damage to your home and health. If you have any of these pests, keep an eye out for ways you can protect yourself and your property from their destructive tendencies.

Mouse snacking on some bread Mice

As you probably suspect, mice are dirty. The house mice most common in our area aren’t known for transmitting any diseases to humans, but they do track mud, dirt, dust, and droppings all over their living places. Mice make nests to hide in during the day and raise their young in. They construct these nests out of paper, dust, garbage, and whatever else they can find. Anything they use or interact with will be soiled. You don’t want to wear a cardigan with mouse droppings on it. Mice’s teeth grow throughout their lives, so mice constantly want something to teeth on. They’re not picky with what they choose, and have been known to nibble on paper, cardboard, bags, clothing, wood, and even furniture. Worst of all, mice can mean big problems when they chew through wires and gas and electrical utility lines. Mice are responsible for quite a few residential fires: the mouse chews through a wire, exposing a spark. That spark catches nearby furniture or carpeting, and now everything’s on fire. Obviously, gas leaks are a severe hazard. If you have or had mice, check their habitats for signs of damaged equipment, especially if that equipment is dangerous when malfunctioning.

earwig on leaf Earwigs

Earwigs have become more prevalent in the past few years. A lot of homeowners don’t know much about earwigs, which can make them even scarier. First of all, earwigs are freaky looking. They’ve got pincers on their butts. Their name has “ear” in it, and ears and bugs are a bad combo. Well, earwigs aren’t as dangerous as they might look. They don’t use their pincers to attack humans, and even if they did, they aren’t strong enough to harm us. They don’t sneak into your ears at night and eat your brains. Earwigs move quickly and erratically, however, and they can fly. Ugh. The main reason earwigs are annoying for homeowners is their appetites. Earwigs mostly eat leaves and other plant foliage. Once they find a place to get a bite, it’s hard to make them leave. Leaves on trees, bushes, plants, and shrubs will be partially eaten, leaving unattractive holes. They also cover everything they sit on in black excrement, which is nasty and unhealthy. Worst of all, earwigs lay 40 to 50 eggs at a time, so if they like your garden or basement, you may have a multi-generational family living with you before long.

moth on shirt Moths

Spring is fast approaching. Along with all the great things spring brings, it brings some not-so-great things, too. Chief among them: moths. Moths migrate back up North starting in mid-to-late March. When they arrive, they’re hungry. Moths subsist primarily on wool fibers, but finer fibers like cashmere and silk are like tasty treats for them. Moths leave telltale holes in clothing they chew through and, as seems to be a pattern with pests, tend to soil clothes with their droppings. Not only can moths ruin your favorite (and priciest!) clothing, they’ll also lay eggs in your closet or storage spaces. Moths lay up to 50 eggs at a time. These eggs quickly become larvae, which grow to maturity by eating clothing. Moth larvae do most of the clothing damage you’ll see; in fact, if you see moths flying around it’s a sign you have an infestation, because the larvae probably grew up. It’s also important to note that, while eating clothing is what moths are known for, they’ll eat anything made of fabric. Your furniture, carpet, cushions, couches, chairs, and curtains are all fair game.

stink bug on leaf Stink Bugs

Stink bugs are common in Eastern U.S. states and are just starting to appear in the Midwest.  Of all the pests we’ve covered so far, stink bugs might be simultaneously the least harmful and most upsetting pest of them all. These pests are aptly named. Stink bug dorsal scent glands produce a very unpleasant odor. You probably won’t be able to smell a single stink bug, but you’re also not likely to encounter a single stink bug. These pests like to party in big, stinky groups. Worse, smashing stink bugs will only make the smell much, much worse. Evolution designed this smell to discourage predators from killing and eating stink bugs, and boy is that effective. Good job, evolution? Stink bugs don’t reproduce indoors but can occasionally infiltrate residences in large numbers in the fall. Stink bugs feed on plants, fruits, vegetables, and other crops. They’ve been a major problem for farms. Maybe the worst part about stink bugs is they tend to stick around. It can be hard to get stink bugs to leave your yard and home alone when they move in. Like earwigs, they can damage the landscaping around your house even if you’ve successfully kept them out of the interior.   It’s easy to get discouraged by pest infestations. It can feel like they’re never going to end, like you’re just going to have to live with the problems forever. Don’t give up! Plunkett’s has been helping homeowners like you solve even the toughest of pest problems for over 100 years. No matter how entrenched your pests may be, we’re ready to kick them out and keep them out. Call today with any questions, or to schedule an appointment.


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